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An old west buddy picture film starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson, set in 1881 Nevada. Chan is Chon Wang is your average member of the Imperial Guard, but when Princess Pei Pei is kidnapped to Nevada and held for ransom, Chon follows the three bravest guardsmen to exchange gold and get her back. Along the way he meets up with Roy O'Bannon (Wilson), an outlaw who seems to like the idea of being an outlaw more than the actual outlaw. The two eventually team up (hey, this is a buddy film) to save the princess from a corrupt sheriff and a traitor to the Emperor.

I saw the trailer to this film, and thought, "Well, it's either going to suck really bad, or kick ass." Well, it's Door #2, Monte. I thought this film was a lot funnier than most of the recent Chan outings, in part because he's teamed up with Wilson, whose deadpan style compliments Jackie's physical comedy perfectly.

There was tons of action, too, but not as much hand-to-hand as expected in the Chan flick. Oh sure, there was Jackie, flipping and rolling and kicking and spinning, but he was also whipping people with horseshoes tied to ropes and sometimes his own hair braids. Add to that a train robbery, some gunfights, and some angry Crow Indians, and you've got yourself a summer movie.

Shanghai Noon (2000) - Rated PG-13 - Directed by Tom Day

Jackie Chan - Chon Wang
Owen Wilson - Roy O'Bannon
Lucy Liu - Princess Pei Pei
Brandon Merrill - Native American woman
Roger Yuan - Lo Fong
Xander Berkeley - Van Cleef

It struck me as the first American Jackie Chan movie that was really like his Hong Kong fare: Basically a thin plot created for the purpose of giving Chan a chance to do some cool new stunts in a new setting, in this case a montage of familiar old west settings. This included how most of the American Indians were portrayed by obviously white actors. (It reminded me of Rumble in the Bronx, in which British and Australian expatriates in Hong Kong were rounded up to play New Yorkers.)

Another Chan hallmark was the fact that the actor has two love interests that seem to have no problem with infidelity...what surprised me was that this situation was actually resolved at the end, a departure from his earlier formulas.

I liked Shanghai Noon, but I think Chan is starting to show his age. A lot of the movie was devoted to dialogue and camaderie, and had me itching for more fighting action. And when Chan did fight, he seemed a little slower and more gimmick-oriented, outside of the excellent bar fight scene. Also, there is almost no arial stuntwork, aside from a long jump in the beginning, and jumping onto his horse, which even Owen Wilson's stunt double was able to do.

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